I love working with exterior color. But most of my projects are in the environs of the city and leafy (but dense) suburbs of Washington, D.C. (though I did have fun with a remote consult in Alaska a few years ago). I would love to help design a house in some truly spectacular setting– like the desert in New Mexico or something on the craggy coast of Maine. When choosing an exterior palette, I always take into consideration (first and foremost), the architecture of the dwelling. Then I look to its context– how the building is situated on a lot and what surrounds it. Most buildings, especially houses, should settle quietly into the landscape.
I wanted to share a few examples of structures that do this beautifully. Most of these buildings have been designed by very talented architects, for whom color is integral to design, inside and out. And their settings are all pretty spectacular.
I’m not sure what this is– perhaps a guest house? The form is striking and the use of color understated but so effective. I love the grid pattern of the “16 over 16″ windows flanking the entry (painted a strong but quiet green, similar in value to the dark shingle siding). Designed by Shope Reno Wharton Architects .
This house, published in Dwell Magazine, was built on one of the outermost islands off the coast of Maine. The client had envisioned “ an unobtrusive abode that would blend with the local color…” It was designed by Alex Scott Porter Design . Aluminum cladding chosen for the harsh climate… guessing color choices were limited. Love that gray… pretty perfect.
One of my favorites- this beauty was designed by the San Francisco firm of Feldman Architecture . For Feldman Architecture, “beauty is found in quiet understated forms, expressive structure, timeless materials, and carefully resolved details. The firm’s designs celebrate light-filled open spaces with a strong connection to the site and landscape.”
Seattle-based architect Bosworth Hoedemaker was tasked to transform a former concrete-block boathouse, on the shores of Hood Canal, into a functional guest house/ boathouse. The result is so striking- the strong simple forms (square windows and blocks of gray sliding doors) are softened and balanced by the color of the interior (simple marine plywood).
Restrained use of color by New York-based architect Deborah Berke for this Litchfield County, Connecticut “farmhouse”.
Elle Decor featured the bucolic (Wisconsin !) getaway of New York designer Richard McGeehan . The article states that “ The Shaker-like simplicity … appealed to his rigorous aesthetic. Another draw was the row of windows along the building’s 44-foot length, which provides stunning views of the surrounding landscape.”
The Minneapolis firm of Rehkamp Larson Architects designed this modern farmhouse. Strong but simple form and color. Iconic.
And here is the ” Russell House”" in Palm Springs. Modernist with orange elements repeating and balancing the strong forms of the desert landscape.
Ending the post with this image… have no idea who took this stunning photo (let me know if you do) or where this is…Nova Scotia perhaps? Guessing neither an architect nor designer was involved here. And “mother nature” surely had something to do with that worn blue/green color. Simply beautiful.